Leni asks for solid Bicol vote

Celso Amo, Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - May 6, 2016 - 10:00am

NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur, Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential bet Leni Robredo made a fervent appeal for a solid vote from fellow Bicolanos in her hometown here for her and LP presidential bet Mar Roxas three days before the elections.

Robredo said her closest rival, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the late strongman, has strong support from the so-called “solid north” or the Ilocos region, which has an estimated two million votes.

She said last year her survey rating was only at one percent but she did not lose hope and continued to work hard for her campaign, despite knowing that many Bicolanos were afraid that she would not win.

The latest polls showed Robredo and Marcos in a statistical tie for the top spot.

“Why am I telling you these? Because I want to show you that four days before the elections, the fight is now just between two candidates, a Bicolano and an Ilocano, and many are worried and asking: ‘what now, there’s a solid north?’” Robredo told a large campaign rally in Plaza Quezon on Thursday night.

She said compared to the Ilocos region, the Bicol region has an estimated 3.4 million votes, “which means that if we’re united, we can easily beat the solid north.”

There are over 54 million registered voters, according to the Commission on Elections.

Some of Robredo’s other rivals also trace their roots to the Bicol region. Sen. Francis Escudero and Sen. Gregorio Honasan hail from Sorsogon while Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ father grew up in Albay.

She said the latest surveys showed that her ratings in the Visayas are nearing 50 percent as the region is Roxas’ bailiwick. 

“Why am I No. 1 in the Visayas? It’s because of Mar Roxas. I rely on him for me to be No. 1 in the Visayas. If Mar Roxas can do that for me, we can make Mar Roxas No. 1 in Bicol,” she said.

Robredo said her call for a solid Bicolano vote for her and Roxas was not to repay him but to ensure that she can perform her duties are vice president well.

Roxas also made a similar plea during the rally for Bicolanos to help them. 

“We’ve already adopted Leni in the Visayas. Please convince your friends, neighbors and relatives not only here in Camarines Sur but in the entire Bicol. Her closest rival (Marcos) has Ilocos all to himself,” Roxas said.

“But don’t forget me,” he said.

Meanwhile, supporters and different sectors, led by Sumilao farmers and urban poor groups, flocked to the Quezon Memorial Circle yesterday to send off Robredo, hoping and praying for her victory in Monday’s polls.

Around 10,000 supporters and volunteers attended the gathering dubbed “Send Off to the Vice Presidency.” 

During the gathering, different sectors endorsed Robredo and declared her as vice president of the people.

They also gave inspiring words that Robredo can find solace in as election day nears. 

Before this, Robredo and the Sumilao farmers were reunited at the University of the Philippines. 

She had provided free legal aid to the farmers as they fought for the rights to their land in Bukidnon in 2007. 

With her help, the farmers got around 200 hectares, more than what they were seeking. 

As way of thanking her, the Sumilao farmers marched anew from Bukidnon to Manila as means to help her campaign. 

After the reunion, Robredo, the Sumilao farmers and members of different sectors marched to Quezon Memorial Circle.

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